Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye, Buck

When I was about ten years old, Buck O'Neil came to my elementary school. The father of a girl in my younger brother's grade had co-authored his autobiography I Was Right on Time, and brought Buck by on a Saturday for the "Book Fair." I remember how kind he was with the children who no idea who he was. He signed a baseball for me, which has sat in my room at home ever since. Buck was a famous ballplayer.

One day I was in Kansas City, MO at a gas station with my dad, and I was sitting in the car while he paid. He came out, and beckoned me to come and meet somebody--and old, tired looking man. "Corban, I want you to meet someone. He used to play in the Negro Leagues for the Monarchs." I shook his hand. He was driving an old, beat-up car, and sweat poured down his face. At this moment I realized that all ballplayers weren't rich, famous, or both. Some of them were regular people, trying to make ends meet. And this made me realize why Buck was so great.

Buck O'Neil died earlier tonight. He was a joyous, patient man, who had suffered through loads of adversity, fought for this country, and just smiled about it. Buck has always been one of my heroes--he took negatives and made them positives, something I have trouble doing. But my negatives aren't as bad as his negatives. I mean, smiling and loving through racial oppression, abuse, and war? Only Buck could do it.

Buck was immensely important to Kansas City, and I know he'll be in the Hall of Fame. I wish he had been there to see it, but I have a feeling he's got a better seat somewhere else.

Buck, you will never be forgotten.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fantastic...

So, this is just great. The Royals managed to lose the 1st pick in the 2007 player draft, make people cry, and still have another 100 loss season. This team was so bad this year that they couldn't even win the first pick! Goodness, gracious me! Our pitching staff is a total disaster and barring complete revamping (at least the aquisition of a #1 starter and a closer) will be a disastor next year. The line-up has shown signs of improvement but will still most likely feature the abysmal Angel Berroa and John "Call it a Night" Buck. I will never give up on this team but unless some of the young pitching talent we aquired pan out, this team will be a mess for years. We'll keep you posted on further news and such.

p.s. Jimmy Gobble actually averaged close to a strikeout an inning (84 IP, 80 K) so having him be the strikeout leader isn't the worst thing in the world as it is impossible to have a ton of strikeouts when you start 16 different pitchers. Where this improvement came from (.46 Ks per inning rest of career) I think can be attributed to Bob McClure improving Jimmy's slider.

tucker, out.

62-100...with a weekend sweep!



Yes, it blows that we lost 100 games for the third straight year, setting the hallmark for futility for future crummy teams. However, we yanked the Central Division crown out from under the Detroit Tigers, who until August, looked like they were gonna walk with this thing. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

Today Dayton Moore announced that we won't really hear anything personnel-wise until Thanksgiving, which indicates there won't be much fluctuation in the coaching staff at least. The 40-man roster will certainly be adjusted, but that's going to be a process in itself anyways.

What did we do right? Well, we gave some young guys some pedestals to emerge off of, particularly Mark "George Brett with Power" Teahen and Esteban German. Grudzielanek was a rock in the lineup, DeJesus will be one of our guys for years to come, and Joey Gathright started to groove a little also. We know who can pitch (Luke Hudson, Redman) who can't (Andy Sisco) and who eventually could figure it out (Jorge de la Rosa, Odalis Perez). Hey, I've seen the rotation end up way worse than this at the conclusion of the last two years, so in comparison, having some guys is just peachy. We also may have too many solid outfielders next year, which, as a Braves guy can tell you, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

What did we do wrong? We suck at getting strikeouts. Jimmy Gobble led the team with 80 K. Jimmy Gobble. Remember when this guy was close to setting the record for the lowest K/9 IP for a starter in American League history? That's a major "yuk" right there.

Angel Berroa.

Joe Mays.

Hitting Doug Mientkiewicz third in the order.

Ugh.

Anyways, I will be continuing this series of wrap-ups during the course of the week. Stay tuned for more coverage of the second worst team in baseball.